Urinary Calculi (Kidney Stones)
There are several things that you can do to help prevent Urinary Tract Calculi (Kidney Stones). This is a primary problem in bucks and wethers. Does also get kidney stones but because of their wide urinary tract, they are able to pass the stones without incident. We wait as long as possible to castrate our wethers because urinary tract growth is arrested at the time of castration. The earlier a buck is castrated, the greater the potential of urinary calculi. Our bucks are castrated at the time of weaning (8-10 weeks) with a steer bander, not at only a few weeks old as most breeders do.
Urinary Calculi is typically caused by mineral deposit in the drinking water, hay that is high in calcium such as alfalfa, or an imbalance in the grain.
Calculi builds up to obstruct the flow of urine and the results are often fatal if left untreated or not treated properly. The symptoms are easy to recognize, the buck will be straining to urinate and crying out in pain sometimes laying on their side and not wanting to get up. Listen to your animals they will tell you when something is wrong. Although, we use preventative measures for urinary calculi, we had our first case a couple years ago in a young buckling that we are raising for a breeder. After consulting with our vet, and telling him our plan of attack, with his aproval, here is what we did: We started to orally drench the young buckling with Ammonium Chloride (this can be purchased at www.thegoatstore.com - Hoegger Supply Company) use 2 teaspoons and mix it with 2 ounces (60 cc's) of water - give twice a day until urine flow is normal, after flow is normal give once a day up to 7 days. If the goat has water belly (bladder is swollen with fluids and unable to pass fluids at all), only use 2 teaspoons of ammonium chloride mixed with about 10-12cc's of water so the bladder does not rupture. Continue administering as listed above only use small amount of water. Some goats will experience tremors as a result of being treated with the ammonium chloride but this side effect normally stops within an hour after being drenched. Goats are most likely to experience tremors if the ammonium chloride is given on an empty stomach or if they have water belly and less water is being used to drench. When drenching, be sure to only give small amounts at a time and allow the goat to swallow the fluid to avoid forcing fluids into the lungs.
The next step is painful and it will take several people to hold the animal while this is done so have plenty of help available. Use a clean surface and lay the animal on his side and hold him firmly so he cannot move, or sit him like a dog, whichever method is easier to get the penis out of the sheath. Have a very sharp pair of scissors sterilized, latex gloves, and a damp cloth. With the goat laying on his side do not have his back legs streched behind his body or his neck too far forward, this will make the penis harder to get out. You need to get the penis forced out by starting about 4" back and forcing it out until you see the tip and the fizzer (the fizzer is the very narrow tip of the urethra, often seen on mature bucks spinning as they urinate on their front legs) normally the fizzer is what prevents the stones from coming out of the urethra due to its very small opening, often times, it will be almost black looking in color because of the stones preventing blood flow (the skin is dying and it needs to be removed). You will need to hold the fizzer with a damp cloth and cut the fizzer off back as far as you can to allow the stones to come out, this does not effect the reproductive ability of the buck. There will be some slight bleeding for about a half hour. After the fizzer has been removed, you will need to administer long-lasting Penicillin G once a day for 3 days (dose according to weight), also give a shot of tetanus. After we started the drench and removed the fizzer, this young buck was urinating without pain within 16 hours. There are several preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risks of urinary calculi, they include mixing 1 1/2 lbs. of Ammonium Chloride to 25 lbs. of loose free choice minerals we recommend Sweetlix 16:8 Meat Maker Minerals and/or feeding medicated Blue Seal Meat Goat Grow & Finish DC Pellet with ammounium chloride or ADM Goat Power medicated feed. The young buckling that developed the urinary calculi had free choice minerals with ammonium chloride and was also fed the Blue Seal medicated feed, however, the stones were relatively soft and easily broken this could be part of the reason he has recovered so quickly. This buck today typically produces triplet kids with our does and has had no complications since. Since this time, we have preformed this surgery on other peoples goats with a 100% success rate, all have fully recovered quickly and are still alive and healthy today.